NLRB Decision Gives Employers More Freedom to Address Offensive and Abusive Conduct

On July 21, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the Board) issued a long-awaited decision giving employers more freedom to discipline employees who engage in abusive, obscene or profane conduct in connection with their work. In General Motors, LLC, 369 NLRB No. 127 (2020), the NLRB rejected three context-specific rules formerly used to assess whether an employee’s inappropriate conduct is protected by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA or the Act). Instead, the NLRB will now assess that conduct under the Wright Line standard, which is used to evaluate all other claims of discriminatory conduct under the Act.

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Pandemic Furloughs in Place? Time to Assess Your WARN Obligations

The Coronavirus pandemic business closings started in mid-March by orders of the governors of many states. Some closings were a consequence of customer demand suddenly drying up. It has now been over two months since some of those closings began, and almost every state in the United States is now fully allowing the reopening of businesses. It is time to assess: is there to be a reopening? If yes, please view our extensive alert regarding Return to Work issues. If not, or if you are considering a reopening with less than a full complement of the workforce that was in place in early March, it is time to start assessing compliance with the federal Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN, 29 U.S.C. §§ 2101 et seq, (FED WARN) and its states’ counterpart laws, or “mini-WARN” laws.

To read the full alert, please visit the Faegre Drinker website.

D.C. Court Slows the NLRB’s Departure from “Quickie Election” Rules; NLRB Implements New Rules Unaffected by Order

On May 30, 2020, a U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. issued an eleventh-hour decision preventing the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from implementing several substantive portions of the NLRB’s new union election rules. Promulgated via rulemaking in December 2019, the NLRB planned to implement the new rules on May 31, 2020 after postponing the original enactment by over a month. Nevertheless, the NLRB has announced that it will implement the portions of new rules deemed procedural by the Court.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.

Legal Considerations for Reopening the Workplace

On March 18, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo enacted Executive Order 202.6, temporarily closing all nonessential businesses in response to the coronavirus outbreak. In late April, Governor Cuomo issued guidance announcing a phased approach to reopening businesses that requires regions across New York State to satisfy seven criteria involving a drop in the infection rate, increased capacity in healthcare systems, increased ability to administer diagnostic tests and isolate new cases, and a capacity to implement contact tracing. With eight out of the state’s ten regions satisfying Governor Cuomo’s criteria, municipalities and businesses around the state prepare to return to work.

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Not Just ‘Clear and Unmistakable’: NLRB and Courts Embrace Contract Coverage Waiver Standard

Last fall, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) moved away from the strict “clear and unmistakable” standard when determining whether unions and their members waived certain rights. Since issuing its MV Transportation, Inc. decision in September 2019, the NLRB no longer requires employers to demonstrate that a union clearly and unmistakably waived its right to bargain over the subject of a unilaterally implemented change. For a detailed analysis of last September’s NLRB decision, please see our September 2019 MV Transportation, Inc. alert. In the eight months since that decision, some courts have begun to apply elements of the new waiver standard.

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No More “Quickie Elections”: NLRB’s New Election Procedures Delayed Until May 31

Beginning May 31, 2020, the time from petition to union election is slated to double, creating new opportunities for employers. The National Labor Relations Board has issued several important changes related to how it will process union certification and decertification elections. These changes include a relaxation of the timelines that guide union elections and an expansion of parties’ rights that could further lengthen the timeline.

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